A cute little movie that deals with some serious issues of gender and race when it comes to food. Its the story of Juanna-a single mom in East Oakland who tries a string of jobs including working her fathers fruit cart. Misfortune keeps after her until she lands a job at Osaka-a Japanese restaurant where she starts as a prep cook. Her interest in sushi begins to grow and she starts to work on her own sushi style but is never given a chance beyond her current role due to her being a female and non Japanese…..rather typical. She spies a sushi competition and begins to train garnering a small following by patrons and staff but decides to quit due to the constant “diss” of the owner.
She enters the contest anyways and finishes second and is upset about that however, she gains the respect of her old sushi chef and restaurant owner.
The film ends with Juanna’s father and her daughter sitting at the sushi counter eating her sushi as she is now front and center at the sushi counter serving guest proudly.
These stereotypes are ever present with cuisine. Rarely do you hear about female chefs as the press always is dominated by the testosterone boys club of douchbaggery. From a cultural standpoint its unfathomable for a foreigner to ever learn how to properly cook Thai food or Japanese or Chinese etc. In all my years living abroad I was routinely told that I could never cook those foods because I didn’t understand and have the historical context. I always find this funny because how did any of these cuisines adopt the use of the chile pepper? Because the chile pepper is about as Thai or Chinese as a Buick. It’s a native Mexican ingredient and only took hold there about 700 years ago. Same goes for tomatoes in Italy or the avocados and quinoa in any health food restaurant throughout the world etc. etc. The food world is malleable but that doesn’t mean its easy. Anyone can cook anything but you need to do your due diligence in taste and study. My major problem with the chef world is the utter lack of discipline in task. By “google-ing” it does not mean you know anything about anything. Just sayin’